Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.
From the Canada.com.
CALGARY — A Calgary Anglican parish is the first in Canada to take up an invitation made by Pope Benedict XVI last year to return to the Roman Catholic fold.
After nearly 10 months of research, meetings and soul searching, 90 per cent of the 70-member congregation at St. John the Evangelist in southeast Calgary have voted in favour of the shift.
St. John the Evangelist has long been considered a traditionalist church, referring to itself on its website as a “centre of orthodox Anglo-Catholicism.”
“This isn’t the Pope . . . poaching Anglicans,” [Exactly.] parish priest Father Lee Kenyon said Tuesday. “It’s the Pope actually responding to persistent requests from Anglicans for many, many years for full communion. But a communion which is united but not absorbed.”
The invitation, or Anglicanorum Coetibus, allows for the new converts to retain parts of their liturgy and traditions.
Kenyon said that while liberalizing forces in the Anglican Church that have resulted in the acceptance of women as ordained priests and a recognition of same-sex marriages may form an underlying disenchantment, the choice to join the Catholic Church is much more complex.
“We recognize those tensions that exist, those issues that do create division,” said Kenyon, who will be ordained as a Catholic priest despite being married with two children.
“They may well be the causes for people leaving the Anglican Church of Canada, but they can never be the reason for people then entering into the Catholic Church. This move into the Catholic Church must be underscored by a personal sense of conversion. If it’s not about positively embracing something and celebrating something which is new and unique, then there’d be no point.” [This guy is on the mark.]
Vera Reid, a parishioner and the people’s warden at St. John said the decision to accept the Pope’s offer was a natural progression for the parish.
“This parish has been an Anglo-Catholic church for many, many years, and basically the Anglican Church of Canada does not hold the same feeling as the parish does,” said Reid. “Did we move away or did they move away? That’s a very interesting question and I can’t answer for anybody else, but in my opinion, yeah, they moved away from the way I personally believe.”
The vote to return to Rome took place Nov. 21.
One of the first issues that will have to be settled is the ownership of the church in Calgary’s Inglewood neighbourhood, just east of downtown. The church itself was erected in 1911.
The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Calgary, Rt. Rev. Derek Hoskin, and Archdeacon Barry Foster did not return phone calls from Postmedia News.
But Foster told CBC the building was owned by the diocese.
Richard Harding, the rector’s warden at St. John, said that isn’t true.
“The title was placed in the name of the elected lay wardens of the parish,” said Harding. “It is parish property. The diocese may not be aware of that.”
Harding said the ownership of St. John is unique; the diocese does own the majority of the property at other parishes. He said the membership at St. John definitely wants to hold on to the building.
“We have parishioners who’ve been in that church for 60 years,” said Harding. “They certainly want to stay there.”
It’s believed that other Anglican parishes in Canada are also contemplating the Catholic offer. They would join with the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, which split from the Anglican Church of Canada more than 30 years ago. It has two parishes in Calgary that share the All Saints’ church in Calgary’s Renfrew neighbourhood.
An Anglican ordinariate is to be established by the Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Collins. It will help convert Anglican priests and ordain them as Catholics.
Collins declined an interview request saying it is too early in the process to comment.
In England, five bishops, 50 priests and about 500 Anglican followers have formed an ordinariate that will ordain priests by June.
No timeline has been set for Canada.
Similar ordinariates are to be established in the United States and Australia.
“The original motivation for all this was the Anglican Church, the Anglican communion as a whole, had begun to make all kinds of compromises, which were less and less acceptable if you wanted to stick by the original faith and order and morals of the church,” said Father Ernest Skublics, priest of the All Saints’ parish.
“The Catholic movement in the Anglican Church started (in the 19th century) and eventually produced a situation where those who were faithful to original Catholic roots of Anglicanism could no longer live with a church that had homosexual marriages and female priests and various non-biblical and non-traditional doctrines and customs.
“It has grown and matured into a desire for a proper conversion to the fullness of the Catholic faith.”
The Anglican Church split from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.